« PreviousContinue »
comfort afflicted saints; and lead us to pray, that G.od would arise and help those that are persecuted and oppressed ; that he would stretch out his hand against their enemies. His kindness to Israel manifests his mercy, and gives encouragement to his afflicted servants in all ages. Wait on the Lord, then, be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart; and though the afflictions of the righteous are many, the Lord will deliver them out of them all.
God answers the objections of Moses against going to F.gypt to deliver Israel; his journey toward it; in which lie meet* with Aaron, and delivers /tis message to Israel.
1 AND Moses answered and said, But, behold, they will ./"\. not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice: for they will say, The Lord hath not appeared unto thee; how then
2 shall I prove my divine mission to them? And the Los D said unto him, What [is] that in thine hand ? consider it well, and regard it attentively. And he said, A rod, or shepherd's staff.
3 And he said, Cast it on the ground'. And he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent, of a large and terrible kind, such as that desert abounds with ;* and Moses fled from before
4 it. And the Lord said unto Moses, Put forth thine hand, and take it by the tail. And he put forth his hand, and caught hold of it, and it became a rod in his hand : and God
5 said, Thou shalt do this miracle, That they may believe that the Lord God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath appeared unto thee.
fi. And the Lord gave him another sign, and said furthermore unto him, Put now thine hand into thy bosom. And he put his hand into his bosom; and when he took it out, be.
7 hold, his hand [was] leprous as snow. And he said, Put thine hand into thy bosom again. And he put his hand into his bosom again; and plucked it out of his bosom, and, be.
t hold, it was turned again as his [other] flesh.f And it shall come to pass, if they will not believe thee, neither hearken to the voice of the first sign, that they will believe the voice
9 of the latter sign. And it shall come to pass, if they will not believe also these two signs, neither hearken unto thy voice, that thou shalt take of the water of the river, which they wor
• Or, as Dr. Lithtfoot thinks, with some reason, a crocodile, to whole dcTOuring jaws)
the Hebrew infants naa been exposed.
t To cleanse and cure a leper, was reckoned the work of God alone ; and this might be tfoignrd to teach him and them, that God Can change things on a sudden ; and that the iairaclcs Moses should work, were no: done by 107 inherent power In himself.
shifipedas a god, and pour [it] upon the dry [land :] and the water which thou takest out of the river shall become blood upon the dry [land:] thou shalt'work this miracle, ifthey are not convinced by the other two. M.jses then raised a second objection, taken from his own inability.
10 And Moses said unto the Lord, O my Lord, I [am] not eloquent, not of a free and ready utterance, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant, that is, since I have received thy commission : but I [am] slow of speech, and
11 of a slow tongue. Gsd tlien nuJces a very grand reply: And the Lord said unto him, Who hath made man's mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind?
12 have not I the Lord ? Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say ; / will suggest words, and make thee spcak superior to all the orators of
13 the age. Neverlheless, Moses desired to be excused; And he said, O my Lord, send, I pray thee, by the hand [of him whom] thou wilt send ; such an one as thou knowest to be fitter for the employment than lam.* This however was apoor
1* excuse: And the anger of the Lord was kindled against "Moses, for neglecting the divine commission, and he said, [Is] . not Aaron the Levite thy brother? I know that he can speak well; Aaron's tongue, and thy head and heart, will make a com'plete ambassador, (as Mr. Henry observes.) And also, behold, '" he cometh forth to meet thee by my direction: and when he '. seeth thee, he will be glad in his heart to execute this commission. This was said to reprove Moses for his backwardness. And thou shalt speak unto him, and put words in his mouth; clearly instruct, and strictly charge him, faithfully to declare my words: and I will be with thy mouth, and with his mouth, and
16 will teach you what ye shall do. And he shall be thy spokesman 'unto the people: and he shall be, [even] he shall be to thee
instead of a mouth, to deliver thy commands to Pharaoh, and thou shalt be to him instead of God, to direct and enjoin him
17 what to say. And thou shalt take this rod in thine hand, wherewith thou shalt do signs. Hence it was called the rod of God. .
18 And Moses went and returned to Jethro his father in law, and said unto him, Let me go, I pray thee, and return unto my brethren which [are] in Egypt, and see whether they fee yet alive. He did not tell Jethro the great reason, lest hi should have hindered him. And Jethro said to Moses, Go in peace.
*9: And the Lord said unto Moses in Midian, (this was a second ''' appearance',f) Go, return into Egypt: for all the men are
• Both these objections of Motes are remarkably perplexed in the Hebrew, and critics icwve know how to render it. In toil view, they are very natural, as eapressiug the. perplexity of his mind.
T Moses probably was still backward to go for fearof being slain there ; but God assures him that his enemies were all dead. This was a further encouragement which he haJ aa\
dead which sought thy life. Herein was Moses a lype of
20 Christ. Matt. ii. '20. And Moses, thus encouraged, took his wife and his sons, and set them upon an ass, and he returned to the land of Egypt: and Moses took the rod of God in his hand, because God had commanded him to carry it, and do wonder? vjith it. Thus it was honoured above the sceptre of Pharaoh.
21 And the Lord said unto Moses, When thou goest to return into Egypt, see that thou do all those wonders before Pharaoh, which I have put in thine hand: but I will harden his heart, that he shall not let the people go: he hath wickedly hardened his heart against Israel, fur a long time, and 7iow, in
22 righteous judgment, I will harden it. And thou shalt say unto Pharaoh, Thus saith the Lord, Israel [is] my son, / have adopted him as mine, [even] my firstborn ; thefrst and only nation that I have chosen for my peculiar people, and therefore
23 not to be any longer subject to thy commands: And I say unto thee, Let my son go, that he may serve me: and if thou refuse to let him go,* behold, I will slay thy son, [even] thy firstliorn. This plague was afterward inflicted.^
24 And it came to pass by the way in the inn, where they stopped to rest all night, that the Lord met him, appeared to him in some visible, shape, and sought, by showing himself in some threatening posture, to kill him, for neglecting to circumcise his son i which was probably done in compliance with his wife's hu.
25 mour.\ Then Zipporah, by the order of Moses, took a sharp stone, or knife, made of ftint, and cut off the foreskin of her son, and cast [it] at his feet in a rage, and said, Surely a bloody husband [art] thou to me, because he insisted on the child's be
26 ing circumcised. So he, that is, the angel, let him, namely, Moses,\\ go : then she said, A bloody husband [thou art,] because of the circumcision.
'27 And the Lord said to Aaron, Co into the wilderness to meet Moses. And he went, and met him in the mount of
28 God, and kissed him.* And Moses received him with great affection, and told Aaron all the words of the Lord who had sent him, and all the signs which he had commanded him.
29 And Moses and Aaron went and gathered together all the r30 elders of the children of Israel: And Aaron spake all the
• But thou halt refuted to let him /o. Samar. Pent.
t The whole message is very grand and awf>.l ; menacing [the proud prince with infinitely superior authority.
f This was a ^reat neglect in Moses, and, as he was going in a public character, would be a reproach to him and his family.
) Others render it, So he, that is, Mosei, let her fa; sent her back to her father; it was not proper she should accompany him with such a turbulent temper: and that this was the case. is probable from ch. xvlit 7.
• This plain and express revelation to Aaron,directinghim to the time and place where he should meet Moses, would tend greatly to confirm the faith of Moses.
•words which the Lord had spoken unto Moses, and did the signs in the sight of the people, as God ordered, v. 16. And the people received them an-i their message with a suitable dia-> position, and believed: and when they heard that the Lord had visited the children of Israel, hud thus appeared to them, and firamisecl to deliver t/icm, and that he had looked upon their affliction, then they bowed their heads and worshipped^ in token of their gratitude and readiness to comply with ail the requirements of the Lord.
1. ~\7Ï7"E мре here encouraged to trust in God to furnish us - VV for the work to which he calls us: as he is able tostrengthen the faith and enliven the obedience of his servants. Let us not be discouraged from his service, by a sense of our own weakness. A modest selfdiffidence is allowable and commendable ; but when it carries us so far as to neglect our duty» and distrust God, it is criminal. God made man's mouth, and gave him capacity. The consideration of this is a great comfort to private Christians, when they are called to lead the devotions of their families, or move private religious societies; and is also a great comfort to ministers, amidst the imperfections of their speech and address. He can give us a mouth and wisdom. God will take it ill if we are backward to speak and act for him, when we have so good a master to serve, so kind a mediator, so many precious promises, and such glorious rewards. If our hearts are sincere, his sfiirit ivili ht/p our infirmities: and then, though our address should be mean, and our language not eloquent, we may trust in him to give his blessing, who out of the mouth» of babe» and sucklings canpcrfict /¡raise.
2. God's children may depend upon it that he will defend their cause, and protect them in every circumstance; for, ae a father pitieth his children, so the Lord fiiticth them that fear him. Israel га ту son; I will not suffer him to be abused or oppressed. God regards his children amidst all their sorrows; he remembers their relation to him; and will, sooner or later, appear for their Deliverance.
3. Those who are employed for God, and are in conspicuous stations, should manage themselves and their families wisely. God's anger against Moses for neglecting his duty, should teach ministers and heads of families to remove every thing that may be offensive to him, and to practise diligently what he requires; not to set a bad example, or give encouragement to sin. It is a melancholy thing, when the Avives of such hang heavy on the interest of religion, and hinder the regular observance of divine in-, stitulions. Let heads of families, therefore, learn to rule their own. houses well.
4. Learn*with what temper we should receive the promises of deliverance in the gospel, v. 31. And the people believed: and when they heard that the Lord had visited the children of Israel, and that he had looked upon their affliction, then they bowed their heads and worshipped. Thus let us express our gratitude to Cod, that he hath visited and redeemed his people; be ready to follow his directions, and behave worthy the favours which he intends to bestow upon us. Let us bless the Lord, who hath showed us light and mercy, and meet him in the way of righteousness and obedience.
CHAP. V. 1, to the end. CHAP. VI. 1.
Moses having delivered his message to Israel, waits upcn Pharaoh* We have here the reception which Pharaoh gave the message from God; the further hardships the people endured; and their remonstrances to Pharaoh and Moses.
1 AND afterward Moses and Aaron, and the elders of Israel ./~\. with them, as they were commanded, ch. I'd. went in, and told Pharaoh, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Let my people go, that they may hold a feast unto me in the wilderness,
2 that is,afeast upon asacrifice. And Pharaoh made a mostimpiaus and insolent reply, and said, Who [is] the Lore, that I should obey his voice to let Israel go? I know not the Lord, neither
3 will I let Israel go.* And they said, This is no scheme or contrivance of our own, for the Cod of the Hebrews hath met with us, hath appeared to us and given us a command to do so ; therefore let us go, we pray thee, three days' journey into the desert, and sacrifice unto the Lord our Cod; lest he fall upon us with pestilence, or with the sword ; lest he be angry and destroy us, and then you will lose the benefit of our labour.^
4 And the king of Egypt said unto them, Wherefore do ye» Moses and Aaron, let the people from their works? get you unto your burdens, you umong the rest, though you take upon
5 you to represent others. And Pharaoh said, Behold, the peo. j pie of the land now [are] many, and ye make them rest from
their burdens, and therefore I sustain great damage by these your impertinent applications.
• Pharaoh thought he w:>s some titular, or local god of Israel, and concluded, that
Mnce h>. wat not able to prevent their bviejj m subjection to Egypt, there wjs no danger to be apnreliriiued from hint. This was an impious tjwech, even upon hisownptinciples, For the heatlwus thought it a necessary duty to treat the gods of their neighbours with great reverence.
t It inicit al*o intimate, thtu as God would punish them if they did not po, so he would also punish Pharaoh it ht.dtd not suffer them to go. There is a decency and spirit hi this address, beyond what comiucnttUort. have taken ngtSsic of, but it had oo good effect.
Voi.. I. Ff